Dave Hyde: Gut-check time for Dolphins' defense as Bills remain class of AFC East (for now)

Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Football

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — OK, no one needed this. Let’s address that lunacy right away. No one in Sunday’s losing locker room needed to get hung with humility because they were too giddy about last week’s 50-point margin of victory against the Denver Broncos.

Sure, the Miami Dolphins got the reality check that was bound to come sooner or later, but preferably not here in Buffalo. Not again. Not for a franchise that’s lost like this for too long.

Stop me if this sounds familiar:

“I’m tired of losing to Buffalo.”

That came from the quiet locker of linebacker Jerome Baker on Sunday after Buffalo put a 48-20 beatdown on all the Dolphins’ opening-weeks feel-good.

That makes eight consecutive losses for the Dolphins in this glorified high-school stadium. It means Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen has beaten them 10 of 11 times.


“Buffalo proved why they’re the team our whole division is trying to beat,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said after the game.

So the Bills still lead, the Dolphins still chase, but there’s a difference this season that was hard to see Sunday. The Dolphins have enough pieces to catch Buffalo if they tighten up the right places and learn the right lessons over the coming weeks.

That starts on a defense that was missing Sunday. As in star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was missing with no tackles through three quarters. As in Allen threw for four touchdowns and ran for another. As in the Bills averaged 8.7 yards a play. Kansas City led the league at 6.3 last year.

NFL players have gut checks all the time, but coaches do, too. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will have one coming up now. He’s built great defenses every place he’s been. The question is how long the learning curve will be getting there with the Dolphins.


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